Ann Voskamp, Holy Experience
Tonight, my heart is moved from frustration and despair to gratitude and joy. Perspective leads me there.
A safe home, a warm bed, food enough for tomorrow and the week ahead. This a Happily Ever After for most of the world. The children in Africa that walk miles each night to sleep in a lighted city street to avoid village abductions. Swept away and sold into slaves of lustful men, slaves of power hungry regimes. Babies, I tell you. How can I complain?
A husband sitting at our table, writing a song of worship tonight. A day worked, for us, for Him. A strong man who challenges me to lose what I cannot keep to gain what I cannot lose. Who chooses a life of purpose, of calling over a life of success, of possessions. Who loosens a little girl's braids and strokes her hair, whispering sweet nothings that tell of her beauty and her worth. A man who prepares a picnic dinner to usher us into the magic of evening falling, and brings along a soccer ball for his boy. Who chooses to love me when it would be easier to check out. Who forgives careless words and calloused heart alike. How can I complain?
A girl, so sick two weeks stacked, my worries mounting. And tonight she, happy and healthy, creating a card for her brother to keep at his side as the night hours pass, his body fighting a sickness of his own. Sweet boy, as sick as I've seen him, but he fights. And he is strong even as he wheezes and works so hard to breathe, a lion cub by destiny, a warrior by design. His days are ordained, and I can trust the Giver of this good gift of a son to see him through 'till the day our son is ushered into the presence of his Maker. How then, can I complain?
When nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or danger or nakedness or sword, how can I waste the life-breath within my lungs to complain? To despair? To fear? When in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us and gave his life up for us to know the Father's joy, even while facing the trouble he promised we would encounter. When our Victorious King - the one who conquered death by death, chose it in will-bowed obedience to his Father - sits at the right hand of that same Father and intercedes on my behalf (yes, little ole' me - and little ole you too). He chose it for the joy set before him. You and I were on the line. And He. chose. us. Our restored relationship with Elohim the joy set before him. And because he humbled himself, became obedient to death, God lifted him up from the shame and the scorn, to the highest place giving him a name above every other name.
You and I have the honor to call upon that name. Jesus. To share in his suffering, share in his glory. His punishment brought up peace.
And tonight I chose that peace.